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321
Proof verification and hardness of approximation problems
 IN PROC. 33RD ANN. IEEE SYMP. ON FOUND. OF COMP. SCI
, 1992
"... We show that every language in NP has a probablistic verifier that checks membership proofs for it using logarithmic number of random bits and by examining a constant number of bits in the proof. If a string is in the language, then there exists a proof such that the verifier accepts with probabilit ..."
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Cited by 723 (45 self)
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We show that every language in NP has a probablistic verifier that checks membership proofs for it using logarithmic number of random bits and by examining a constant number of bits in the proof. If a string is in the language, then there exists a proof such that the verifier accepts with probability 1 (i.e., for every choice of its random string). For strings not in the language, the verifier rejects every provided “proof " with probability at least 1/2. Our result builds upon and improves a recent result of Arora and Safra [6] whose verifiers examine a nonconstant number of bits in the proof (though this number is a very slowly growing function of the input length). As a consequence we prove that no MAX SNPhard problem has a polynomial time approximation scheme, unless NP=P. The class MAX SNP was defined by Papadimitriou and Yannakakis [82] and hard problems for this class include vertex cover, maximum satisfiability, maximum cut, metric TSP, Steiner trees and shortest superstring. We also improve upon the clique hardness results of Feige, Goldwasser, Lovász, Safra and Szegedy [42], and Arora and Safra [6] and shows that there exists a positive ɛ such that approximating the maximum clique size in an Nvertex graph to within a factor of N ɛ is NPhard.
Some optimal inapproximability results
, 2002
"... We prove optimal, up to an arbitrary ffl? 0, inapproximability results for MaxEkSat for k * 3, maximizing the number of satisfied linear equations in an overdetermined system of linear equations modulo a prime p and Set Splitting. As a consequence of these results we get improved lower bounds for ..."
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Cited by 660 (12 self)
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We prove optimal, up to an arbitrary ffl? 0, inapproximability results for MaxEkSat for k * 3, maximizing the number of satisfied linear equations in an overdetermined system of linear equations modulo a prime p and Set Splitting. As a consequence of these results we get improved lower bounds for the efficient approximability of many optimization problems studied previously. In particular, for MaxE2Sat, MaxCut, MaxdiCut, and Vertex cover. Warning: Essentially this paper has been published in JACM and is subject to copyright restrictions. In particular it is for personal use only.
A Threshold of ln n for Approximating Set Cover
 JOURNAL OF THE ACM
, 1998
"... Given a collection F of subsets of S = f1; : : : ; ng, set cover is the problem of selecting as few as possible subsets from F such that their union covers S, and max kcover is the problem of selecting k subsets from F such that their union has maximum cardinality. Both these problems are NPhar ..."
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Cited by 658 (5 self)
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Given a collection F of subsets of S = f1; : : : ; ng, set cover is the problem of selecting as few as possible subsets from F such that their union covers S, and max kcover is the problem of selecting k subsets from F such that their union has maximum cardinality. Both these problems are NPhard. We prove that (1 \Gamma o(1)) ln n is a threshold below which set cover cannot be approximated efficiently, unless NP has slightly superpolynomial time algorithms. This closes the gap (up to low order terms) between the ratio of approximation achievable by the greedy algorithm (which is (1 \Gamma o(1)) ln n), and previous results of Lund and Yannakakis, that showed hardness of approximation within a ratio of (log 2 n)=2 ' 0:72 lnn. For max kcover we show an approximation threshold of (1 \Gamma 1=e) (up to low order terms), under the assumption that P != NP .
Private Information Retrieval
, 1997
"... Publicly accessible databases are an indispensable resource for retrieving up to date information. But they also pose a significant risk to the privacy of the user, since a curious database operator can follow the user's queries and infer what the user is after. Indeed, in cases where the user ..."
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Cited by 454 (12 self)
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Publicly accessible databases are an indispensable resource for retrieving up to date information. But they also pose a significant risk to the privacy of the user, since a curious database operator can follow the user's queries and infer what the user is after. Indeed, in cases where the users ' intentions are to be kept secret, users are often cautious about accessing the database. It can be shown that when accessing a single database, to completely guarantee the privacy of the user, the whole database should be downloaded, namely n bits should be communicated (where n is the number of bits in the database). In this work, we investigate whether by replicating the database, more efficient solutions to the private retrieval problem can be obtained. We describe schemes that enable a user to access k replicated copies of a database (k * 2) and privately retrieve information stored in the database. This means that each individual database gets no information on the identity of the item retrieved by the user. Our schemes use the replication to gain substantial saving. In particular, we have ffl A two database scheme with communication complexity of O(n1=3). ffl A scheme for a constant number, k, of databases with communication complexity O(n1=k). ffl A scheme for 13 log2 n databases with polylogarithmic (in n) communication complexity.
NonDeterministic Exponential Time has TwoProver Interactive Protocols
"... We determine the exact power of twoprover interactive proof systems introduced by BenOr, Goldwasser, Kilian, and Wigderson (1988). In this system, two allpowerful noncommunicating provers convince a randomizing polynomial time verifier in polynomial time that the input z belongs to the language ..."
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Cited by 407 (40 self)
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We determine the exact power of twoprover interactive proof systems introduced by BenOr, Goldwasser, Kilian, and Wigderson (1988). In this system, two allpowerful noncommunicating provers convince a randomizing polynomial time verifier in polynomial time that the input z belongs to the language L. It was previously suspected (and proved in a relativized sense) that coNPcomplete languages do not admit such proof systems. In sharp contrast, we show that the class of languages having twoprover interactive proof systems is nondeterministic exponential time. After the recent results that all languages in PSPACE have single prover interactive proofs (Lund, Fortnow, Karloff, Nisan, and Shamir), this represents a further step demonstrating the unexpectedly immense power of randomization and interaction in efficient provability. Indeed, it follows that multiple provers with coins are strictly stronger than without, since NEXP # NP. In particular, for the first time, provably polynomial time intractable languages turn out to admit “efficient proof systems’’ since NEXP # P. We show that to prove membership in languages in EXP, the honest provers need the power of EXP only. A consequence, linking more standard concepts of structural complexity, states that if EX P has polynomial size circuits then EXP = Cg = MA. The first part of the proof of the main result extends recent techniques of polynomial extrapolation of truth values used in the single prover case. The second part is a verification scheme for multilinearity of an nvariable function held by an oracle and can be viewed as an independent result on program verification. Its proof rests on combinatorial techniques including the estimation of the expansion rate of a graph.
Probabilistic checking of proofs: a new characterization of NP
 Journal of the ACM
, 1998
"... Abstract. We give a new characterization of NP: the class NP contains exactly those languages L for which membership proofs (a proof that an input x is in L) can be verified probabilistically in polynomial time using logarithmic number of random bits and by reading sublogarithmic number of bits from ..."
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Cited by 368 (28 self)
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Abstract. We give a new characterization of NP: the class NP contains exactly those languages L for which membership proofs (a proof that an input x is in L) can be verified probabilistically in polynomial time using logarithmic number of random bits and by reading sublogarithmic number of bits from the proof. We discuss implications of this characterization; specifically, we show that approximating Clique and Independent Set, even in a very weak sense, is NPhard.
Designing Programs That Check Their Work
, 1989
"... A program correctness checker is an algorithm for checking the output of a computation. That is, given a program and an instance on which the program is run, the checker certifies whether the output of the program on that instance is correct. This paper defines the concept of a program checker. It d ..."
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Cited by 313 (17 self)
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A program correctness checker is an algorithm for checking the output of a computation. That is, given a program and an instance on which the program is run, the checker certifies whether the output of the program on that instance is correct. This paper defines the concept of a program checker. It designs program checkers for a few specific and carefully chosen problems in the class FP of functions computable in polynomial time. Problems in FP for which checkers are presented in this paper include Sorting, Matrix Rank and GCD. It also applies methods of modern cryptography, especially the idea of a probabilistic interactive proof, to the design of program checkers for group theoretic computations. Two strucural theorems are proven here. One is a characterization of problems that can be checked. The other theorem establishes equivalence classes of problems such that whenever one problem in a class is checkable, all problems in the class are checkable.
A SubConstant ErrorProbability LowDegree Test, and a SubConstant ErrorProbability PCP Characterization of NP
 IN PROC. 29TH ACM SYMP. ON THEORY OF COMPUTING, 475484. EL PASO
, 1997
"... We introduce a new lowdegreetest, one that uses the restriction of lowdegree polynomials to planes (i.e., affine subspaces of dimension 2), rather than the restriction to lines (i.e., affine subspaces of dimension 1). We prove the new test to be of a very small errorprobability (in particular, ..."
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Cited by 286 (21 self)
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We introduce a new lowdegreetest, one that uses the restriction of lowdegree polynomials to planes (i.e., affine subspaces of dimension 2), rather than the restriction to lines (i.e., affine subspaces of dimension 1). We prove the new test to be of a very small errorprobability (in particular, much smaller than constant). The new test enables us to prove a lowerror characterization of NP in terms of PCP. Specifically, our theorem states that, for any given ffl ? 0, membership in any NP language can be verified with O(1) accesses, each reading logarithmic number of bits, and such that the errorprobability is 2 \Gamma log 1\Gammaffl n . Our results are in fact stronger, as stated below. One application of the new characterization of NP is that approximating SETCOVER to within a logarithmic factors is NPhard. Previous analysis for lowdegreetests, as well as previous characterizations of NP in terms of PCP, have managed to achieve, with constant number of accesses, error...
Checking Computations in Polylogarithmic Time
, 1991
"... . Motivated by Manuel Blum's concept of instance checking, we consider new, very fast and generic mechanisms of checking computations. Our results exploit recent advances in interactive proof protocols [LFKN92], [Sha92], and especially the MIP = NEXP protocol from [BFL91]. We show that every no ..."
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Cited by 256 (10 self)
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. Motivated by Manuel Blum's concept of instance checking, we consider new, very fast and generic mechanisms of checking computations. Our results exploit recent advances in interactive proof protocols [LFKN92], [Sha92], and especially the MIP = NEXP protocol from [BFL91]. We show that every nondeterministic computational task S(x; y), defined as a polynomial time relation between the instance x, representing the input and output combined, and the witness y can be modified to a task S 0 such that: (i) the same instances remain accepted; (ii) each instance/witness pair becomes checkable in polylogarithmic Monte Carlo time; and (iii) a witness satisfying S 0 can be computed in polynomial time from a witness satisfying S. Here the instance and the description of S have to be provided in errorcorrecting code (since the checker will not notice slight changes). A modification of the MIP proof was required to achieve polynomial time in (iii); the earlier technique yields N O(log log N)...
Free Bits, PCPs and NonApproximability  Towards Tight Results
, 1996
"... This paper continues the investigation of the connection between proof systems and approximation. The emphasis is on proving tight nonapproximability results via consideration of measures like the "free bit complexity" and the "amortized free bit complexity" of proof systems. ..."
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Cited by 203 (41 self)
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This paper continues the investigation of the connection between proof systems and approximation. The emphasis is on proving tight nonapproximability results via consideration of measures like the "free bit complexity" and the "amortized free bit complexity" of proof systems.